Diving Rules

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Diving is a popular water sport that is practiced in different forms around the world. On the face of it, diving is one of the simplest sports in the world, requiring participants to simply dive off a platform or springboard into water, performing acrobatics to get the most points from judges. However, behind this apparent simplicity is a sport that is far more complex and difficult than it may first seem and one that requires complete dedication and commitment from anyone who wants to make it to the top.

There are various forms of diving practiced around the world, such as thrilling cliff diving competitions but by far the most popular form of diving is the one seen at the Olympics were competitors dive into a pool from springboards or platforms of varying heights. Outside of competitive diving, it is a sport that is practiced by a wide range of people across the planet sheerly for recreational purposes.

Object of the Sport

The object of the sport of diving is to score more points in a series of dives then the competition. After a series of dives, the person (or pair of divers if a pairs competition) with the most points are winners.

Players and Equipment

Apart from a diving board and swimming costumes, no special equipment is needed for diving apart from a diving board or a series of diving boards if competing.


In most international competitions the judging panel consists of five or more judges. They each judge every dive and award it a score between 1 and 10.

  • 0: Completely Failed
  • ½ - 2: Unsatisfactory
  • 2½ - 4½: Deficient
  • 5 - 6½: Satisfactory
  • 7 - 8: Good
  • 8½ - 9½: Very good
  • 10: Excellent

When judging each dive, they look at five different elements it:

  • Starting Position: There are various starting positions for a dive and each diver will be judged on the execution of this starting position.
  • The Approach: The diver should move to the end of the board in a smooth motion showing good form.
  • Takeoff: Take offs should all show good balance and control and should initiate an acceptable distance from the platform or springboard.
  • Flight: The diver should have the proper body form through the flight of the dive, as well as the proper amount of rotation and revolution, depending upon the elements of the dive.
  • Entry: The angle of entry should be straight with the minimal amount of splash.

To reduce the subjectivity of diving scoring at major diving competitions, the highest and lowest scores are discarded and the middle three are then added together and then multiplied by the degree of difficulty of the dive which is determined by the complexity of the moves performed in the dive.

Winning the Competition

At the end of the competition, the competitor (or pair of competitors if a pairs competition) that have the highest scores are the winner of the competition.

Rules of Diving

The rule of diving a relatively straightforward, but differ slightly between the two main disciplines, springboard diving and platform diving.

Springboard Diving

  • Six dives should be completed by men, five by women
  • Dives can be performed of any difficulty level
  • One dive during the contest must come from each of five different categories (forward, back, reverse, inward, twisting)
  • Men may repeat one of the categories for their sixth dive, women may not
  • Each dive must be different, meaning no dive can be repeated

Platform diving & Synchronized Springboard

  • Men complete six dives, women complete five
  • For both men and women, the first two dives must have a difficulty level of 2.0
  • The remaining dives for both men and women can be of any difficulty level
  • Both men and women must complete dives from at least four different categories with at least one of the dives being forward facing